Here is a delicious and healthy salad you might consider for your July 4th festivities, whether you are entertaining or being entertained and would like to bring something to share. I made a few changes to the original recipe based on what I had on hand and added a few extra herbs for flavor. I can't believe the original recipe is from 1993. I didn't even know what a wheat berry was then! Kudos to Gourmet for being at the forefront of a culinary trend that now includes many varieties of healthy whole grains.
Not only do they taste great, wheat berries are high in fiber and vitamins also. If you've never had wheat berries. they are a wonderfully crunchy/chewy and nutty grain that is boiled first in salted water for about 1 hour. Some recipes say to soak them for faster cooking but I haven't found that necessary. 1/2 cup of dried wheat berries will yield about 1 cup of cooked wheat berries.
This summery salad is a wonderful way to use your garden herbs and cherry tomatoes if you grow them or buy them fresh at the farmers' market. We enjoyed the salad on a bed of greens but the salad is delicious on its own as a side to any grilled meat at a BBQ or picnic. Lots of flavors and textures! This salad is very adaptable so add what you like.
This year, in addition to many herbs, I am experimenting with even more vegetables in containers on my patio, such as bush cucumbers, 'Little Finger' eggplant and two varieties of squash, plus a few varieties of tomatoes.
I hope you all enjoy a safe and happy Fourth of July if you are celebrating! Here is a little Red, White and Blue for you from my garden...
Wheat Berry and Feta Salad
Adapted from Gourmet/EpicuriousPrintable Recipe
Yield: Serves 6
2 cups cooked wheat, spelt, or rye berries (I used Bob's Red Mill Brand)
1 cup diced Feta cheese (I like Feta in water or good, dry Greek Feta)
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup mixed minced fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, basil, oregano
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
I also used about a cup of crisp-tender cooked green beans, cut into pieces
Fresh greens for serving (optional)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1 whole lemon)
1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 garlic clove, minced
Red pepper flakes to taste, about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
First, cook the wheat berries in a saucepan of boiling, salted water for about 1 hour, or until they are tender but still slightly crunchy. (See package directions). Drain and set aside to cool.
Prepare the dressing by placing everything except the olive oil in a small bowl. Slowing whisk in the olive oil to emulsify and adjust seasonings to taste.
In a large bowl, stir together the wheat berries, Feta, onion, cucumber, red pepper, tomatoes and minced herb. Toss with the dressing until coated and taste. Add more dressing if desired.